WARNING: This is a very open and at times, graphic read of my life.
Before one even begins to read this, you must understand that I am NOT a pity-seeker. I, by no means, seek to sensationalize this testimony; a painful recollection of my past, in order to gain your favor.
My purpose is to share my life and how God has changed this torn and tattered being named ‘Debra’ for the better. Now before you stop reading this, hear me out. You may not want God involved in your life at all and that is fine. I am not pushing Him on you. But you are reading this for a reason, maybe you needs answers, maybe to know you are not alone, maybe you are just interested in how an abuse victim thinks or you’re just drawn to sadistic stories like this but in any case, if you want the truth how I overcame my pain in my past, God will be incorporated. Because for me, He was the only one who brought to me the whole healing I desperately needed.
Too many times have I seen victims of abuse in this walk of life, live as though they are a mere shell of what they are meant to be and seem reluctant to push through and bring about something better and in seeing this, three strong emotions brew inside of me: compassion, sadness and anger.
I feel compassion because I want to show you that even though your hurt is painful and find yourself badly broken, the pain can be only temporary and if given proper mentoring and love. Yes, you can beat the pain, maybe not the memory as it never leaves, but how you continue living despite that pain, is something I can tell you of.
I am sad because I know that the hurt and emptiness inside that is felt from painful abuse is very real and very deep and can feel crippling.
Finally, I am mad because of the metaphoric prison cell that has been allowed to be placed around men/women and children because of this pain henceforth furthering the depression instead of ridding one of it. Sometimes it seems that the victim doesn’t want to get better. It seems that they just replay things until they are controlled by the anger and fear and can no longer operate normally. This makes me mad. Not at the victim but the situation.
Dear friend, you CAN rise above a life of abuse and neglect and make something remarkable out of the rest of your life.
My intention is to show you the way to beat the pain of your past and live in the life you were meant to live.
Romans 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
First off, I was born November 4, 1980 weighing 5 lbs. 12oz and 18 inches long, by my mother at the age of 18 in Harrison, Arkansas.
As an infant, colic was a mainstay in my behavior on many occasions. I had been given alcohol to soothe the crankiness.Back then it was a common thing to do I am told. My brother was born 11 months 4 days after I was. My mother worked hard at Tyson’s in Green Forest to keep a roof over our heads. Often the money she had set aside for food, the dad role-model in our lives would use it for alcohol. With her away to work he would neglect to care for us, he would leave us unattended while he went somewhere in town, often the bar. Someone turned my mom and her husband in for neglect and we were placed in foster care before I was 2.
My maternal grandparents got custody of my brother and I, and raised us until I was close to 7 (it was mid-1987) in which at that time custody returned to my mother, who was pregnant and had recently remarried. I wasn’t with her very long in the new living arrangement before the sexual abuse started. It is amazing how still to this day I can vividly remember numerous events. Sometimes the memory is so strong I literally feel it and all the dread comes back. A photographic memory in this case serves as a crippling curse.
The very first encounter was not too long after moving in with my mom. We used to burn our trash out by this huge dead tree in the field to the side of the house. You could see the place from the kitchen window, but you’d really have to look as it was off to the side. The tree, as I remember, was dead yet big around and still standing but with no leaves at all. It was white in color, so I am assuming it had to of been a Sycamore. Those trees stand forever it seems. There was also an old broken-down single cab truck not too far away. It was put there to get it out of the yard. My step-dad had gone out to burn the trash and I wanted to go with him. I have always loved fire, so to me, it was a treat to get to help him. Also, this guy complimented me and spoiled me continuously. I desperately wanted to be a daddy’s girl, I craved acceptance and attention, and I think that is why I was around him so much, everything he did I wanted to be there.
As he was taking the trash down and finally got it lit, he walked over to the truck, to the other side that could not be seen from the house and set his lighter on the bed rail. He asked me to get away from the fire and to go in a get him some iced tea, which was his favorite thing to drink aside from the beer he kept well hid from me. I didn’t know he drank it as he always had it in a cozy and I thought it was a pop until in my later years when I realized he was an alcoholic. I went in excitement that HE had asked SOMETHING of me and I wanted to make him proud. So, I filled a jelly jar with iced tea and took it out to him. He was still by the truck except more by the cab and what I saw struck me very odd. I went to dodge back around the end of the truck as I felt I accidently seen him peeing or something. He told me it was fine to come on. He thanked me for the tea and then decided to show me his private area. He asked if I’d touch it and I said “no”. He kept, in what I can see now, pressuring me into touching him.
As I finally did, he grabbed my head and forced himself in my mouth. I tried so hard to pull away for I was choking but he kept asking me to be still. Then nasty stuff filled my mouth and I thought I was going to be sick, he pulled himself out of my mouth, zipped his pants up and told me if I told anyone I’d go back and live with my grandparents and he would call me a liar. I remember trying so hard not to cry. I didn’t understand what had just happened. I felt like I had done something wrong and deserved the punishment. He said, “Now let’s go in and pretend this never happened,” and I did what I was told.
On another occasion my brother (the one 11 months younger) and I were staying with our step-dad while mom was somewhere. I don’t know where, she was always gone. My step dad whispered in my ear that he wanted me to go to the bedroom and lay down on his bed to take a nap with him. Why? We didn’t take naps was all I could think. But I did as he said. He told my brother to go to his room and not to come out… in which he did a little bit later. Then he came to his bedroom where I was, and he took off his jeans and underwear. He wanted me to touch him and to put his private in my mouth. In which I did. Why couldn’t I have said ‘no’, why did I always do what I was told? What was wrong with me? My grandparents had done well to teach us to listen and respect our elders. We got spankings with switches if we disobeyed so perhaps, I felt I was to do the same here. That in doing what he said allowed me to be a good girl, in which I wouldn’t feel if I didn’t listen to him.
After I had done those things, he masturbated himself above me to which when he ‘came’, it went all over my chest. Being 7, I had no idea what in the world that stuff was. He would say all kinds of things to me as he did what he did. Things a man should only tell his wife not a LITTLE GIRL! When he was done with pleasing himself, he had me wipe of my chest with a sheet. For some reason it left a red-light colored rash on me. I hated it wouldn’t come off right away. I was afraid my mom would find it and I would get in trouble. As he dressed himself, he told me to act as though we had awakened from a nap. When he opened the bedroom door my brother was there rolling a matchbox car up and down the wall by the door. My step dad got so mad at him. I was afraid he was going to hurt him. He took him by the shoulders, shoved him up against the wall and told him, “When I tell you to stay in your room, that is what I mean!” Tears came down my brother’s face and that is when I decided 2 things:
1. I don’t like this man at all
2. I will do whatever he wants if my brothers don’t get hurt again.
So many situations like this continued. It was very often, 2-3 times a week for 5.5 years. He made me look at porn and then would have me do what I saw according to which PICTURE he chose. I gave him bubble baths and made sure to spend extra time on his genitals at his request. There was lots of oral sex. But what can you do? This is life, you are just the child. It wasn’t like I had somewhere else to go.
I told my mother once at the age of 9 what was happening because they had shown a video at school discussing what kind of touching was wrong. I was in 5th grade. The movie made me so sick that I had to get a pass for the bathroom. I spent most of the movie in the bathroom crying because I realized what I had been going through wasn’t right. I didn’t tell a teacher, but I did try to tell my mother and when I did, she did not believe me, she asked, “What do you want me to do, put a lock on your door?” I knew with her behavior and comment I was on my own, so I told her I was lying as to not have her upset any more than I had already.
Many instances and heartaches later, we arrive at the age of 12. We are now back attending school in the 6th grade. There was a Friday night dance at the school and I wanted to go. My mom was gone somewhere; where was she always at, why was she never around? I never had time with her; it was as if my step-dad kept us apart, and with her gone I had to ask my step-dad if I could go. I didn’t want to because I knew what it would require of me, but I wanted to be away from the house with mom gone and my step-dad the only one home. I asked. He asked something of me, something of which had allowed him to suck my breasts. I told him to forget it and that I was sorry I even asked. (The night before he was rough. I felt him go inside me and it hurt.) I wanted no more. But he helped himself anyway holding my hands against the cabinets, I just cried and cried. He drove me to the dance and made me swear not to tell anyone. I shook my head in agreement.
At the dance a good “guy” friend of mine approached me and what happened I wasn’t ready for. He took me off to a corner of the building where it was just him and I and he said, “I know something is wrong. Why have you been crying? What is going on?” Then he hugged me. In his embrace I broke down into massive sobbing and I told him what was happening, but I made him make a promise to me not to tell anyone. I have been doing this for over 5 years now and I can keep it up. He told me he would.
That next Monday I am in math class and the school counselor interrupts class and asks to see me in the hallway. She proceeds to ask if everything was OK and of course I tell her yes. Then she gently puts her hands on my shoulder and asks, “Is everything OK at home with you and your dad?” Instantly, I start shaking and then tears began to roll down my face. I couldn’t say anything. She takes me to her office where an investigator, the school superintendent and a couple others were gathered, and I knew they knew. All I could say was, “I need help.” DHS was called to the school and I was removed immediately from the home.
I ended up in foster care, which in my mind is a different kind of abuse. I was there 2+ years. I battled immense depression, was suicidal and often rebellious and basically felt the need to constantly protect myself. I couldn’t open to anyone. I was afraid of men, even my foster dad. My foster mother seemed to put her own biologicals ahead of me in which I could understand. I was a burden and a big one with lots of tiny broken pieces. I just closed down and off.
My mother told everyone I lied about my dad because I was mad at them for not being able to buy me everything I WANTED. At our first supervised visit, she handed me a Bible and told me I needed to read it and fix my life. I could have hated God in this moment. I could have made my decision right there to never have Him in my life all because of her tact. I think my love for the Bible started here though, slowly, despite the way she introduced it to me.
I resented her for not supporting me or even showing me any affection, but I did appreciate the Bible though at this point I just kept it in my dresser with notes I had gotten from friends. More as a sentimental token.
I tried to kill myself three times. The night time seemed to be my only embrace as everyone would be asleep and I felt like I could finally breathe. But in being so overwhelmed with emotions and hurt and having no one just to hold me, it was in those times too I would try and kill myself. When you are going through the emotions and you hurt so bad, you welcome anything that brings relief. I guess I can understand why addicts exist.
Several appointments with an attorney, a medical examiner and a psychiatrist were scheduled. I went through three psychiatrists. One of them had me tested for schizophrenia. I told my story, this one you are reading now, repeatedly with each time being recorded as evidence to be used in trial should we have to go that route. My attorney and case worker really hoped we wouldn’t have to go that direction as they didn’t want me having to go through that. They hoped my perpetrator would take the plea bargain and after having a bit of pressure applied, he finally chose to do so. I remember that day well. The day he decided to confess his fault. The judge probed him to give an answer when he asked the question, “You are being charged with child molestation, rape and child endangerment. How do you plead?”
My step dad broke down into tears and began his own plea to be forgiven and rendered some form of help. Emotions ran through me so intensely, the strongest one bringing me so close to the point of telling the judge I had lied. I didn’t want to send my baby brother’s dad off to jail. I knew what it was like not having a dad and I didn’t want to be the reason why he didn’t have one.
The judge spoke louder than my emotions and I heard him proceed in saying that he didn’t want to hear his excuses just his plea. I kept asking myself why I was in this position. I hear the cries on my step-dad’s mom and my own mom in the silence of the court; such pain. Finally, my step-dad spoke,”guilty” was his plea. You could hear the clinking of the handcuffs and the bitterness in the tears of those who came to hear the case that day. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison. My attorney assured me that if he was to get out before the 16 years, I would be contacted through a letter, so I could relax knowing I wouldn’t have to watch my back or fear the night time noises that so often bothered me. I really hoped so.
An Abused Child Grows Up
March 30, 1997 Age: 16
Fear is what you put inside of me.
The feeling of dread in my stomach.
The twitching nerve annoying my eye.
The constant trembling of my hands.
The way my legs turn to jelly and my body goes numb.
And my heart beats faster when I see you.
Or when someone mentions your name
Fear is what I feel when approaching any man
Wondering if they too possess the power to condemn me
to a life of emotional turmoil and deep depression.
When I am alone-
At any time-
Fear makes me wonder if that limb scratching my window,
Or the shadow in the corner of my lawn,
is you coming to get me?
I sometimes worry that perhaps I was just one
And there were many more you hurt
Who else did you make suffer you sick, selfish man?
You hurt me over and over
For that I feel insecure.
You shattered my spirit
For that I hate who I am.
And you think you have won-
But you haven’t…
By me writing this
I’m letting the pain out
I’m trying to build back my security
And begging it works.
How could you take such a crucial part of my life and not care?
What kept you coming back to torture me?
Did it make you feel like a man?
Well, hopefully by the time you get out
I’ll be able to stand boldly up against you.
For I’ve grown up and now realize
“You,” were the one wrong, not me.
I was fragile, heartbroken, abandoned, and alone. I always felt I was being treated as the perpetrator. Even now, I remember all the emptiness and loneliness. I went to church during the time, yet I questioned how God; not the existence of one but the HOW, could He allow me to go through all this pain and still say “I love you” and “I will always protect you.”
My self-esteem was non-existent. I started venturing for acceptance and a niche in which I could BELONG to; being skilled in pleasing, it should be no surprise that when this one guy gave me attention, I gave my all. At 14, I ended up pregnant being only with this one guy. Since I was in foster care the only way, I was told I could keep my child at that time was to go to a girl’s ranch or marry the baby’s daddy. I don’t know if it was authorities who had told me that or if it was advice others have given me, I am unsure.
Marriage was the road I took. At age 15 the courts gave me permission to become an adult. In my mind I wasn’t going to be the type of mom, my mom was at the time. 2 1/2 years (I was 17 ½) into my marriage the guy quit working; he wouldn’t get us our own apartment because he enjoyed living with his parents. Yet due to their lack of smoking outside, it made my son sick to the point he had many hospital-stays his first couple of winters; he would get pneumonia and RSV. But you cannot force someone outside of their own home just for your personal preference, I understood that, yet for the love of a CHILD was it too much to ask?
He had a temper that scared me. He would punch holes in walls and barely talk to me. He smoked constantly and started drinking and going out with his friend.
My marriage was heading downhill fast. I wanted to go to church and my husband at the time would not take me. I couldn’t drive so everywhere I went meant HE had to take me. I think he liked that. It kind of trapped me in a sense. But with my tendency to RUN when things got hard and I hurt the most, it was probably a good thing I didn’t learn to drive until I was 21. When I got pregnant with my second and I told my husband about it, in anger he told me, “NO ONE will come between me and our first child. I didn’t ask for another one.” If this was a game of Battleship, my ship just sank. I was hurt, mad, and without anyone to turn to as my relationships with my family members had almost ceased to be. They never were there.
At some point during this time I had got word that my step-dad; who was in prison, developed a tumor on his spine and unless he was released, he would not be able to get the proper care he needed. My mother brought me a paper to which she wanted me to sign for his release and I walked away. They can’t just let a man die unaided when he really needs it. That’s not how they render serious health situations and because of that I felt she was setting me up; lying to me per say. Some people have said he got what he deserved but I believe I am not at liberty to judge, definitely not qualified to do so as I was making a terrible mess of my own life.
Back to where I left off.
Another man, a good friend, started turning his affections towards me and regretfully I ended up in an affair at 17; such a lonely vulnerable moment. I was always attracting the wrong kind of attention. I didn’t wear trashy clothes, use a filthy mouth, drink, and do drugs, party or anything like that. I had no clue as to what those experiences were even like. I was a good mom, I worked hard at my job, I tried to be a true compassionate friend to everyone which I guess attracted men to my heart because seriously I didn’t feel that pretty.
It’s ironic how you can find a friend outside of your marriage, but not within, and yet when you test to see if he perhaps is “the real deal” you realize he is just as confused as you are and you both end up in regrets. Predictably, my marriage was on its way to divorce and the man who I had the affair with disappeared. With all the stress from everything I reached this point where I just didn’t care anymore.
I had an almost 3-year-old handsome young baby, one close to being here and a marriage soon to end. Yet, I had to keep on. I was currently working at Sonic and had made it to assistant manager. The manager I worked under I found to be someone I could talk to about anything. He just gave of this impression that made you feel he genuinely cared. I started talking to him first about superficial things and then as our friendship grew rapidly, I started sharing everything in my heart. We grew close very fast. He knew of the struggles I was having somewhat.
On the night I went into delivery with my second son, February 10, 1999, my husband and I had got into an intense verbal fight. It brought labor 6 weeks early. My second child was born, via C-section, weighing 4lb. 13 oz and with intestinal troubles; he just simply refused to pass the meconium valve, so they thought there was an obstruction in the bowel area. I delivered at a small-town hospital, yet they were needing to transport him to bigger hospital. The plan was to send him via ambulance on to this bigger hospital and leave me behind in recovery since I just had endured surgery. I told the hospital they would not send him without me and they released me to go with him.
We spent 16 days in ICU. It was hard to endure. Luckily, he got better, and things improved. My husband and I were barely talking so he was gone a lot during this stay. Divorce papers were being filed. I had this beautiful baby in my arms and no one to truly enjoy it with. I found out later, one day while we were there that the manager from Sonic had come by to see us and either couldn’t find us or they wouldn’t let him in. I hated we missed him.
If I would have surrendered to God’s will, I wouldn’t have had to endure such pain in my first marriage, as a matter of fact I wouldn’t have even put myself in a position to have a child so young but because I wanted physical love and this hole in my heart filled my way, I left God out. I wanted Him to have no part because I knew I had done wrong and didn’t understand how He could honestly want more to do with me. The guilt kept me away. The devil is skilled here. He centers his attack on you as a person and cuts your self-image to shreds. He pushes to agitate and provokes you to be disobedient to God.
The devil tempts you in areas of weakness. He tells you that you are weak and not one of God’s chosen ones. He tries to ruin you without cause. He tries to deceive you. He continually accuses you before God. He is impatient and feeds anxious feelings. He schemes against you sending discouragement as flaming missiles. He tries to make crooked the right ways of the Lord.
1 Chronicles 21:1
And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.
And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
All the while God was trying to show me, help me and love me but it didn’t matter because I just kept running further and further in the opposite direction. He didn’t cause the hurt I was dealing with and although I didn’t quite get what my purpose was in being here on Earth; being from day 1 of my life I had been hurt repeatedly, I felt there was more to God and I was just too ignorant to understand it all.
I never blamed God for what I had been through, but I questioned why He let it happen. I mean He is God, the Master of miracles. The wonders and miracles He performed in the Bible I fully believed, so why wasn’t there intervention on behalf of me? And I know there will be times we will never know because even if we did, we still wouldn’t understand. Looking back, I think I realize now why though. There is no way I could be who I am today unless I endured all the pain I have. You see with pain comes experience, not only in the physical, but in emotional. I can relate to so many people because I have been there and have experienced it myself. I have learned to listen. I don’t judge. Life is complicated, if not hard. Especially when you are in a situation you don’t understand, and you are craving some sign of reasoning and everything seems to be standing still.
After my second child was released from the hospital the first person, he seen was the manager at Sonic. I think my child was the first baby he had held that small. This manager started really being there for us and eventually asked me out on a date. On March 6, 1999 we had our first date, then on May 12, 1999 he proposed to me and said he wanted to take care of me and my sons. At this point, I was in shock, how could I deserve someone like him? He was a youth leader of his church, a manager of Sonic, he had a very nice vehicle and worked very hard. Knowing full well my babies and I needed someone, I crossed my fingers hoping I wasn’t making yet another mistake and said ‘yes’ to a man I still hold in very high regards. We set the wedding date for December 31, 1999. We both visited with his Pastor for minor marriage counseling. After his marriage proposal and at the age of 19, on November 14, 1999 I gave myself to the Lord. I knew where my soon-to-be husband’s strength came from, which was God and I wanted that opportunity too. In a way this man, my future husband, led me to Christ.
We are due to celebrate 14 years of marriage come this December 31, 2013. He is everything a husband should be. And he has had to cope and deal with my healing which has not been an easy process. I admire him for sticking with me. I am sure he could compile an excellent book on how to handle the broken and deeply scarred woman because he did it with such patience.
One of the processes I had to overcome was vivid night terrors and very detailed flashbacks. They haunted me something horrible making it hard, if not impossible, to fully offer myself as the wife he deserved from all the scars and opened wounds my mind and soul bore. I wanted so desperately to heal.
About 2 years into my marriage, one summer morning, my mother-in-law and a friend from our church had asked me to go for the day to city-wide yard sales. We all loved being together and yard sales, so of course I was game to go. I would have never chosen to go if I knew my day would have turned out like it did though.
At one of the yard sales I was standing looking at things on a table. I had picked up an item and went to turn and show my friend and I tripped over something and bumped someone. I had tripped over a cane and the person I bumped into was my step-dad; panic crept in as fast as a tornado passes through, I was terrified. I hurried over to my mother-in-law and told her I was going to the car. She seen how shaken I was and asked what was wrong. I said please let me go to the car. I didn’t want to cut her looking around down on account of me, how rude would that be after all I am a woman now? She hurried to the car anyway and I told her what had happened. She couldn’t believe it! I said, “I thought they were going to inform me when he got out, why is it I had to run into him to know he was around?” My nerves were shot which sent my body into severe trembling, I knew how to work through the shivers though and I calmed myself back down.
Shortly after this encounter I remember a sermon our Pastor had preached about forgiveness. The Lord’s Prayer was a focal point and when it got to ‘forgive us of our debts as we do our debtors’ my mind locked on that key point, I don’t think I heard much else on the sermon. I went home and pondered ‘forgiveness’ a bit. I had created in my life a ‘need’ for forgiveness by making some bad choices within my own life. People are just mortal beings; me included, who stand in desperate need of a Savior. Would God hold back forgiveness for the things I had done in my life if I did not render forgiveness to someone who had so wronged me?
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man has a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do you.
Why was this messing with me?
I had relapsed a bit since my encounter with my step-dad. I was fearful again and more stressed and I just wanted some form of release from it all. Was this the key?
I prayed alone upstairs in my bedroom and as I prayed for guidance it was as if God was right there in person form with a clear audible voice gently telling me I needed to move toward ‘forgiving’ my step-dad. After the prayer, I sat there a bit and decided that I wanted to do that so badly if it was what God was asking of me. So, I grabbed the phone, dialed that childhood home phone number in which he was still at, and listened. The phone rang a couple of times and a voice very familiar came on. I knew it was him. I told him how I needed to make sure he knew I was forgiving him for the pain and hurt he had put on me and that I didn’t want him to be a prisoner of it anymore. I needed to move on in my life and if I couldn’t forgive, I wouldn’t be allowed to completely move on. He told me how he had waited 8 years to hear that from me and was thankful to finally hear those words. I hung the phone up quickly after that because I didn’t know what more to say. The call took a lot of emotional strength.
As I hung up the phone, I think for the first time in my life I finally felt what God’s joy and peace really felt like. There was this enormous burden lifted off my back and happiness flooded my soul. It was like when you are at a worship service and one of the songs you sing just sends your heart soaring. I ran downstairs and told my husband of what had just happened. He sat so calmly on the floor. Why wasn’t he up and shouting too I wondered. He asked me, “How do you feel now?” All I could say was, “FREE!” with a grin stretched from ear to ear. I understood then at that point that forgiveness is not an emotion, you usually don’t FEEL like forgiving when you have been hurt so deeply, but it crucial that you make a choice and put ‘forgiveness’ into action and CHOOSE to DO it even if at the moment, you don’t FEEL like it.
That is when my true healing really started, from that very moment I gave forgiveness at age 21. Memories started to heal, my self-image began to improve, and more importantly I was finding out there was a God who LOVED me for me and He was going to show me my place in this world through Him. I like to say I truly started living in the summer of 2001. All the broken pieces started rebuilding through God who could heal my hurts and a husband who would love and protect me with all his being. It has been a long 21 years, and I have a lot to still yet overcome, but I’m going to be just fine. I have sense learned all the guilt the devil kept placing on my back which in return forced me to push away from God in the very heard moments of life. But here is what God was telling me, which at the time I could not hear for I focused on my own guilt more than I did God’s Word.
Jesus Christ is a POWERFUL in encouragement just as the devil is a powerful messenger of discouragement.
ENCOURAGEMENT IS GOD’S MESSAGE! He encourages you to rely on God’s power, not on your own righteousness or strength! He encourages you to be anxious for nothing and most times doesn’t give a deadline in which you are to stop. He comforts and encourages the brokenhearted and proclaims liberty for the captives. He even makes intercession for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:24
Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith theLord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of theLord forever.
Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.
Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.
For the Lordshall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because theLord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Some have asked if I had medication during any of my life at this point. I was forced to face my pain. I didn’t have meds to run to. Don’t get me wrong, at times I’d cry out and literally beg through tears for an opportunity to escape the pain I had BUILDING in me. I wanted antidepressants badly. I wanted some sort of ‘happy pill’ because I felt total despair. My husband kept saying, “You don’t need it. You are going to have to do this on your own.” At times his; what came across as insensitivity, made me feel he really didn’t understand how bad I really hurt, and it annoyed me.
Despite my inner turmoil and outer pouring of pain, I had a friend who believed in me and a Creator who was fighting for me to overcome my hurt. My husband refused to back down, he seen something in me I never thought was there and that was a ‘fighter.’ I wanted to please him and be someone he could be proud of, so with him standing by my side it ushered in strength to get through all the hell my inner self was coping with. The inner demon wanted to kill me and rip my soul a part. Satan was set on killing me, but Jesus Christ and my husband stood over me while I bled, and my soul screamed for relief. They protected me from destruction in which I know without a doubt had it not been for the both, you would not be reading my writing today.
I never once took any kind of medication to numb my pain except for that one time I overdosed when I was younger. I never picked up drinking or drugs. It was a hard-core recovery road for sure, but I did it with Christ’s help and my husband’s support. That is why they say in rehab facilities that you need someone who has your best interest in mind there with you as much as possible. Healing and kicking addictions of any kind cannot be obtained by oneself, you need help.
I do not like when people view my history and feel I have made God my scapegoat. A scapegoat is someone or something you can turn to when you want to get out of something. Remember I tried several avenues of escape from the pain and nothing worked. EVERYTHING left me either more vulnerable or in a state of hopelessness. I have found what Grace and Mercy truly mean and that there is a God who totally adores me for me. And if you want to know Him too, He has been waiting for you, just like HE was for me, all you must do is BELIEVE that God is who He says He is and that HE is FOR YOU not against you.
“Jesus answered and said to them, this is the work of God that you believe on him whom he has sent.” (John 6:29) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
(1 John 1:9) I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord. Blessed is that man that maketh the Lordhis trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.
I’d like to be able to say that making the decision to forgive the hurt meant to do me harm, getting forgiveness for all the pain I myself had caused, and putting God the top priority in life made my life a dream but I cannot say such a thing. When we think that God’s objective in our lives should be to give us what we want, I think we are only deceiving ourselves. Trials and tribulations WILL come; it is just an unfortunate part of living in a fallen sin-cursed world. Life is a journey, though based on your attitude and what you make it, it can be a fantastic ride. There will always be ups and downs, mountains and valleys, sickness and health, seasons of financial success and financial struggles, we lose people we love dearly and gain relationships we couldn’t do without.
The devil really likes to make us remember all the pain we have caused and imperfections we have on the inside. He knows if he can keep you focused on you that he will keep you away from God. When it comes to the past the devil can trap us in the guilt of our past. But with God, He beckons us to believe Him when He says, “Your sin is forgotten!” This is something that took me A LONG TIME to overcome. The devil condemned me over and over and it was so much easier to hear his relentless words of discouragement than it was to hear Gods loving words filled with encouragement.
Update: June 23, 2014
They say you are to leave your past behind and never go back to it, yet it seems certain things taking place in my life right now are drawing out pieces of my past, and at very deep toxic levels.
Flashbacks are terrible. Once you have somewhat settled your past and find yourself in a place where you feel you can move one happy and somewhat indifferent to your past, the last thing you need is a flashback. To me a flashback is a buried traumatic experience that your mind has hid until something triggers a memory.
I was talking one night with my son and sister about our phobias. We were trying to place when the fears started. My son hates spiders, my sister hates being alone, and I hate loud noises and dark hallways, um, dark hallways? It was in the trying to remember when I first realized I had the fear of hallway’s the expedited a trip back to my childhood.
Each night my brothers would be sent to bed before me. I would be in the bathroom brushing my hair, taking a shower or brushing my teeth, you know getting ready for bed. When I would open the bathroom door and head down to my room, sometimes my step-dad would be waiting in his doorway, in the dark. Waiting? Yes, he would whisper for me to come with him to his bed and then whatever happened, happened. I wonder if there had been windows to let light in or no hallway at all if I would have had to encounter him as much as I did. But you know, it is what it is. My job is to overcome it and move on in the healing Jesus has given me over the last 15 years. I think this flashback was to set me back. And it did for a little bit while I was trying to process and cope through the memory. But I am on the upside now.
For those of you who have seen Harry Potter, you will clearly remember Snape. Throughout the entire movie series Snape has a hidden heartache of which he keeps locked up and personal inside of him. This has been referenced to as Snape’s Little Black Box.
This small battered wooden box contains little bits of Lily’s life which Snape had collected. Lily was the love of his life, but things didn’t turn out for them as he had hoped. He was heartbroken over her. Inside the box, it contained pink hair ribbon, a pendant with her initial, her name, a snippet off her wedding dress (who knew he was lurking), a flower she lost at a dance, and an old copper piece in which he engraved their initials. Snape carefully fastened each piece into an old black box with his initials and a warning, “Keep out!”
Why the warning, “Keep out!”? Could it be to think back on a past full of painful memories was too much for him? I think so.
Like Snape, each one of us has a past with memories we’d rather forget, some memories and pasts hurt the person more than others but nonetheless, we all have pain. And sometimes we are tempted to go back and look in the box and once again sift through its contents, resurrecting pain that had been suppressed if not entirely put to rest.
I took a trip back to my black box thinking that being on this side of the pain I could handle it. Black boxes ARE NEVER meant to be resurrected. It was as if a piece of me was back there in that time reliving those moments. I was real. It was painful. In a prayer, I asked God for direction and instead He gave me words to a letter. I have included it below:
Why did you open that box back up?! Why are you running those memories through your hand like sand sifting through your fingers? We have already dealt with this, my child.
It is Satan who would have you travel back to this place in your life. Those toxic memories only bring up emotions that were meant to kill you then and even right now. There is nothing good that can come out of remembering at the depth you are, in every detail, every ache and every emotion you endured then.
My child, My Grace is sufficient, it is all you need. (2 Corinthians 12:9) My power to heal and help you overcome is at its strongest when you are at your weakest. Do not doubt My Love for you for by my stripes you are healed! (Isaiah 53:5)
I love you. Now close that box; get away from it and think about all I have pulled you through.